Torn Between Two Bikes
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Thread: Torn Between Two Bikes

  1. #1
    Senior Member sibyrnes's Avatar
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    Torn Between Two Bikes

    I usually hate threads where someone asks strangers on the web to help with purchasing decisions, but here I am!

    I love my TW for back roads and trails but I am considering something to get me to the trails further from home.(keeping the TW) In other words something that is better suited to highway cruising but still capable of moderate trails and backroads. i am considering two choices:

    First, a 2016 BMW G650GS, used with 1300 miles. Has the optional spoked wheels, center stand and heated grips. It still has 1 year of the original BMW warranty left. Or, a new 2016 Honda CB500X. Both bikes are the same price, one year warranty and I love both of them! It seems like the BMW would be better off road but the Honda would be a more comfortable cruiser. I know the Honda would be as reliable as a stone but I have no experience with BMW reliability or maintenance. With the crappy wet weather we have been having I have not had the chance to test ride either bike. Opinions please? Has anyone ridden both bikes?
    Last edited by sibyrnes; 04-04-2018 at 07:29 AM.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member ejfranz's Avatar
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    I met a guy at the flying monkey ralley with the 650 BMW and he had over 120 000 miles on his. He had some interesting stories on where he had been with his bike. If you went with the ralley raid kit for the Honda, you would have a good adventure bike. As they are the same price, I would go with the BMW.
    A guy I ride with had the Honda for a few years and loved it for the road. He did some FSR riding with it after putting a skid plate on it. He traded it in for an African Twin to allow him more off road riding.
    Ken likes this.
    2001 TW200 sporting a MT43 up front. Duro has gone to a good home. 2015 VStrom XT, 1996 DT 200, Broken 2010 Xingue 400 XY. 2009 WR250r now shared with my son.

  3. #3
    Senior Member stagewex's Avatar
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    The Honda is a touring-adventure bike but all of it's "adventures" are for the street/road.

    The BMW is the on/off road version of their 650 commuter. I test road a used one a few years ago and didn't like it. But not the dual-sport one you are considering. I don't know if that means it's the commuter with off-road tires and different styling? Seems BMW puts more effort into marketing and design before engineering nowadays (and I own 2 BMW's). Is gearing different on the GS or is it just pretty make-up? You'd need to do more research.

    You already own a TW that you say you are keeping. Question back to yourself, do you need 2 dual sports or 1 of each... a dual-sport and a street bike?
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  5. #4
    Senior Member Ebbanflood's Avatar
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    I really do not want this to sound negative because it is not meant to be, but I would say neither. I think you will know the right one when you see it. After owning over 30 motorcycles I would still get the one that you know when you see it. The one that before you go to sleep the first few nights with it you have to go back outside and take one more look at. The one that gives you a big s&#t eatin grin when you walk up to it. (Yes I have a problem, I know that....move on)
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    Senior Member sibyrnes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ebbanflood View Post
    I really do not want this to sound negative because it is not meant to be, but I would say neither. I think you will know the right one when you see it. After owning over 30 motorcycles I would still get the one that you know when you see it. The one that before you go to sleep the first few nights with it you have to go back outside and take one more look at. The one that gives you a big s&#t eatin grin when you walk up to it. (Yes I have a problem, I know that....move on)
    You bring up a good point but both of the bikes I mention give me "a big s&#t eatin grin"! I guess my only big issue is a preconceived notion I have about the reliability and maintenance cost of owning a BMW and I am trying to find out if that is true or not. I have only owned Japanese bikes(there was a CZ once) and I am used to, or maybe spoiled by the "plug and play" reliability they offer.
    Last edited by sibyrnes; 04-04-2018 at 09:07 AM.
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  7. #6
    Senior Member Miaugi's Avatar
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    Speaking from experience I have both the TW and a '01 F650GS. I am am a couple of BMW forums and the 650 is in general quite capable with the correct tires (the tires on mine were new when I bought it but not dual sport so I have not ventured far off road yet). I like the smooth power band of the beemer as well as the low seat height and the lower center of gravity due the the under the seat fuel tank....however it is not a light bike and there is no doubt I could pick it up from it's side if need be but not too many times before I'd be way too tired to continue. Originally I shunned the BMW because I was also concerned about how tough and reliable they were but there is no perfect bike and I have been totally pleased with mine. As an adventure bike I think you would be happy with it for hard pack and water crossings but I doubt that you will be climbing over fallen trees or rocks the size of watermelons with it.
    Last edited by Miaugi; 04-04-2018 at 02:39 PM.
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    Senior Member Rhodetrip's Avatar
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    Halfrica Twin:

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    CB500x with the Rally Raid package.
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    "Me and Mrs Trip, we got a thing going on"... an on-going adventure...
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  9. #8
    Senior Member Ebbanflood's Avatar
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    It's a reasonable concern about BMW and everything that you read on the internet. I am on my 4th GS now and they have been rock solid reliable. My starter failed on this most recent GS but I was aware that the Valeo starter that was in it was a notorious piece of junk. I actually had a spare at home, BMW no longer uses them. I think that another reason for BMW reputation for more failures is that they are used for many more miles than most other brands, at least this is true in my case. My 4 BMW's account for way more miles than the other 2 dozen motorcycles that I've owned combined. 40,000 miles is considered a lot of miles for most brands but is considered low mileage for a BMW. BMW's with over 100,000 miles are quite common, I just don't see that with other brands. Yes they are out there but they are the exception, not the rule. Best of luck and enjoy the search, I'm sure that you will be very happy with your choice.

  10. #9
    Senior Member Ebbanflood's Avatar
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    Now as for Honda..... We have a small workboat at my job that has a Honda outboard on it. One morning one of my employees calls me and says that the workboat will not start. I said, It's a Honda, it's either out of gas or the kill switch lanyard is not clipped on. He called right back and said it was the kill switch lanyard.
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  11. #10
    Senior Member Xracer's Avatar
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    Just get a KLR. Pretty good on the street and off-road and so far I've not been able to kill mine even after several Tennessee mud slogs.
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